A Nevada family is mourning the loss of their older son, fatally shot while watching “SpongeBob SquarePants” with his younger brother in their home. The aching mother wants justice, but in her grief said, “If I could have took that bullet for them, I would have.”
SirArmani Clark, 9, and Honor Tate, 6, were watching cartoons in their Las Vegas Valley apartment when bullets pierced the wall right before 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7. Both children were injured. Reports say the younger child was hit in his leg, and the elder brother was struck in his head.
Justine Tate, the boys’ mother, was in a different room when the tragedy happened, Fox5 Vegas reported.
“We hop up out of bed we run into the living room. We heard Honor whimper. No sound from Armani… He doesn’t say anything. All I can visual at this point is my baby’s head dropping and falling to the side,” Tate recalled..
After the shooting, the children were transported to the Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. SirArmani was declared dead shortly after arriving.
The shooting comes less than a week after the two sons arrived in Las Vegas from their hometown of Reno. The family moved to Sin City because Tate had started a new job in the area.
A GoFundMe set up a day after SirArmani’s premature demise, has raised almost $20,000 of the $50,000 goal.
The mother asked the public to support their family in this time of need.
“Never in a million years would I think I’d have to bury my beautiful 9-year-old son,” she wrote.
“He was great and if you knew my baby then you knew that his smile would brighten up the darkest house,” adding, “My children didn’t deserve any of this!”
One of her biggest concerns is for her son, Honor, who looked up to his big brother. She said he is “traumatized” by the entire ordeal.
“He is so traumatized. He doesn’t want to leave the house … yesterday when I went to clean his wounds he immediately was like, ‘Mama, I want Armani,’” Justine explained.
Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Jason Johansson said authorities believe the gunshot came from a neighboring apartment. The officer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the shooting did not appear to be intentional, the newspaper reported on March 8.
“To me, it does not look like at this time that this home was targeted, but we’ll have to determine that through our investigation,” Johansson said.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Department says a neighbor police believe to be responsible for the shooting has been arrested, but he has not been charged in connection with the shooting. While his name has not been shared publicly, authorities state the man is a convicted felon who should have never had access to a firearm.
“He is out there showing off with a gun, and then pulls the trigger on the gun and kills one kid and hospitalizes another,” Sheriff Kevin McMahill told the Review-Journal this week.
The suspect had been arrested in a drug bust a few weeks before the shooting and was booked on the possession of 500 fentanyl pills, McMahill said.